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Carter Magfence

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Review by richgreer posted 913 days ago 4739 views 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Carter Magfence Carter Magfence No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

My 18” bandsaw is, essentially, dedicated to resawing and other straight cuts. I was not happy with the original fence and I looked to upgrade. I did not find many options for an 18” bandsaw and finally purchased this Carter magnet based fence. I’ve worked with it some and now I offer a mixed review with both the positives and the negatives as I see them.

(As an FYI – I have a second, smaller, band saw that I use for the curvy stuff.)

As I would expect from Carter, the workmanship is excellent. This simple tool is well made. The fence is held very securely with the 2 included MagSwitchs. There are also 2 places to add additional MagSwitches. I doubt that will ever be needed, but it is nice to know the option exists.

Since a primary purpose of this bandsaw is resawing, I consider the fence too short (3”). You will see in the picture that I added a face board which, effectively, raises the fence to 6”. There are 4 slots that run the length of the Carter fence that will accept the nut of a 1/4” bolt making it relatively easy to add (and remove) the face board. However, I doubt that I will remove the face board very often due to the shims discussed in the next paragraph.

After adding the face board, I checked it for square to the table. It was off by a hair. I inserted some shins between the Carter fence and the face board at the top and that solved the problem. I cannot be 100% certain that the problem is the Carter fence (it could, in theory, be the face board), However, I think it is the Carter fence. Reinserting those shims every time I put the face board back on is a good reason not to take it off. Getting those shims in just the right position was a PITA.

With a magnetic fence you have no way to automatically get the fence perpendicular to the edge of the table. You will see in the second picture that I put an adhesive tape measure on the far side of the bandsaw table. It is not a coincidence that the face board is long enough to reach from the tape measure on one side of the tape measure on the other side. In theory, if I align the face board on each side to the same measuring mark, the fence will be perpendicular to the edge of the table. The face board is 22” long. The Carter fence is 15” long.

This fence is basically a good, well made, tool. But, for me, I wish it were longer, taller and perfectly square. I wish my added on face board was not necessary. Also, including an adhesive tape measure with the fence would be a nice idea. Fortunately, I had one in the shop that I had not used previously.

To be fair, this fence is probably built primarily for 14” bandsaws and it probably fits the needs for a 14” bandsaw better.

Suggestion for Carter – Make a second model that is taller and longer for people like me.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.




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richgreer

4522 posts in 1678 days



11 comments so far

View buffalosean's profile

buffalosean

174 posts in 1990 days


#1 posted 913 days ago

3” is a pretty short fence for re-sawing. I’m surprised Carter hasn’t come out with an larger version. You should e-mail them the suggestion. You never know.

-- There are many ways to skin a cat...... but, the butter knife is not recommended

View rodneyh's profile

rodneyh

127 posts in 1268 days


#2 posted 913 days ago

Did you also look at the magswitch base system? I’m trying to decide between these two fences, or possibly just buying the magnets and building my own. Any thoughts on their comparison?

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4522 posts in 1678 days


#3 posted 913 days ago

I did not consider the magswitch base system. I wish I had.

I’m sort of a fan of Carter. IMO, their stabilizer is amazing. I use on on my smaller bandsaw for the curvy stuff.

In my mind, there was a little confusion about the Carter magfence. I’d seen videos on Carter’s guide system for bigger bandsaws. They do some pretty impressive resawing. In that video they use the original magfence. I thought that fence was impressive. I’m not sure of the height but it was probably about 4-5”. All the magnets switched on and off with one switch. I wanted that fence but could not find where to buy one. When I called Carter they assured me that their new fence was “new and improved” and advised me that they had discontinued their original product.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1777 days


#4 posted 913 days ago

Rodney:

My brother WAS the product rep for MagSwitch for years (not any more), and gave me one of their mag-based resaw fences. I’d guess it IS six inches tall, and … I flat love it.

Lower the upper guide, position the board to be resawn, slide the fence against it, just ahead of the blade, twist the two magnets into the on position, and go. It’s a single roller fence (they may have a double roller, too), and I think it’s great. I’ve found no downsides, in using it.

-- -- Neil

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11639 posts in 2291 days


#5 posted 913 days ago

Hi Rich , try getting hold of Ellen35 or Moonls .
They might have a couple of the older style fences for you. : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View ellen35's profile

ellen35

2557 posts in 2036 days


#6 posted 913 days ago

Rich,
moonls and I both bought the first generation Mag-fence. The second generation came out because of the poor design of the first one. This does look like an improvement with the knobs instead of end bars but, when I asked them about the problem at the Woodworking Show, they really did not want to discuss it. I was not happy.
Thanks Len… I’d get rid of my MagFence I in a heartbeat!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4522 posts in 1678 days


#7 posted 913 days ago

ellen -

As I said before – - Based on my viewing of the video I saw, the magfence I looked like a good design. Indeed, I was looking to buy that model.

I don’t want to bug you, but can you comment on the deficiencies of the Magfence I design?

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11639 posts in 2291 days


#8 posted 913 days ago

I thought as much , Ellen : ) You’re welcome !

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View ellen35's profile

ellen35

2557 posts in 2036 days


#9 posted 913 days ago

Rich,
The first iteration of the Mag Fence had handles on each end to unlock it from the table. You pushed down on the handle and it acted as a lever to lift the end of the fence. This was fine for a larger table… say a table saw. But, for a bandsaw table, it hung over the edge on one or both ends depending on if you centered it (both ends) or offset it (one end). So… the real problem lies with taking the fence off the table or moving it more than a poke. Both Lorna (moons) and I have jammed fingers pushing down on the unlock handle and, with it hanging off the table, the lever on one end really did not work correctly. I saw the new Mag Fence II and the design is soooo much better. The use of knobs to lock and unlock it is a great improvement. My original thought was to talk with them about possibly getting a break on the cost of the Mag II because the design of the Mag I was so poor. The just kept insisting that the Mag I design was fine (so why is there a Mag II????). I know Lorna called Carter and spoke with someone who was distinctly unhelpful. I expect more from Carter as they are a very reputable company and I really like their bandsaw guide systems. I think you will be happy with the Mag II if it is high enough for your re-sawing.
Ellen

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4522 posts in 1678 days


#10 posted 913 days ago

Thank you Ellen.

I think I will be happy with the Magfence II, now that I have added the face board. With that face board I have a 6” high fence and I believe it will serve me well. Nonetheless, I will argue that I should not have to make some significant modifications to the fence for it to be usable for my purposes. Within a few days I will be resawing an 8-10” wide board of walnut. That will be the real test. I’m holding off until a new band saw blade arrives.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Gerry's profile

Gerry

253 posts in 1844 days


#11 posted 783 days ago

Rich,
Thank you for the great review, and the limitations you have found. Ellen, thank you so much for the history, the clarity, and a current users’ perspective of what works and what does not. This is VERY helpful!

I’ve been looking at the Carter Magfence II with great interest…. Currently am using a Wood slicer blade with the existing fence on my Rikon, with an 8” extension for wide board re-sawing. Once I set the drift angle, I have had good and consistent results with boards up to 11”.

Rich, please let us know how the mag fence 2 works with your walnut cuts. Thanks!

-- -Gerry, Hereford, AZ ” A really good woodworker knows how the hide his / her mistakes.”

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